How Social Media Shapes your Professional Persona

As Seen in Y-Link’s “The Link”

How social media shapes your professional persona with Jen Dooley

Not a day goes by that I don’t get a request to connect or become friends with another professional via social media. When I initially joined Facebook, I thought of it as my private space for friends and family to connect. Then one day the mayor sent me a friend request. At that point I had to make the conscious decision to merge my personal and professional self on social media and stick to it, because I was not willing to commit social media suicide by not friending the mayor.

It’s no secret that social media is rapidly diminishing our ability to differentiate our personal and professional personas to the masses. Every day I cross paths with someone that mentions a location I’ve recently visited or conversations I’ve had via social media. I used to think of it as a semi-frustrating invasion of privacy, until realized people actually cared about what I said and did. Not only did this make me feel a little bit like a “big deal”, but I also realized that social media had become a platform in my world to gain business, grow relationships and be an influencer.

I’ve had long talks with the youth in my life regarding their social media personas and the impact those will have on their futures, from college acceptance to internships and jobs. At the end of the day, Facebook owns the content you choose to publish on your page and that never goes away (even if you delete it). Ultimately this means that when you’re 40 years old and you decide to run for office, the photos of you at 21 doing your favorite shots in a bar can and will be used against you.

I challenge you to think long and hard about how you want the masses to view you as an individual. Are your posts okay for your employer to read? Or even the mayor? Do you wake up some mornings thinking, “Why did I post that yesterday?” If so you might want to consider setting social media boundaries for yourself. Check out the 36 Rules of Social Media from Fast Company Magazine for more tips.